No!! My inner voice screamed as I tried desperately to wrap my mind around the information I was hearing. There were so many different perspectives from which this could be viewed; if only I could comprehend it first. But … death is never an easy concept to grasp.
It was about seven in the morning – it could have been earlier. As usual, Baby Aaron’s grandfather was taking him to the baby sitter’s on his way to work. On arrival at work, Grandpa locked the doors and windows to secure the vehicle, and then satisfied he walked to the office. He received a telephone call that he was urgently needed at one of his other job sites. He immediately set off with a colleague who was heading in that direction.
Grandpa did not hesitate to go although it was quite a distance away. He had just been promoted, the day before, to this new position, so this was a chance for him to prove himself. He had nothing else to worry about because the situation would most likely to be resolved in time for him to collect his grandson and be back home by the usual time.
At about four in the afternoon Grandpa returned to his car. Horror of horrors! Baby Aaron’s lifeless body was slumped in the car seat. His face was fixed in a grimace of pain indicative of a slow, painful death by hyperthermia. The outside temperature had soared to about forty degrees Celcius. Inside the car would have been even hotter. His chances for survival for a whole day without water, fresh air and food were nil. Grandpa had forgotten to take Aaron to the sitter’s!
Grandpa was devastated. His agonized scream brought the company’s security rushing to the scene. Local police and the child’s parents were contacted. Grandpa fell to his son’s feet begging for forgiveness. It must be said that the child’s father forgave his own father for the death of Aaron.
There are so many questions. How is it that no one thought about Aaron for the day? How did the Mummy not call Grandpa or the baby sitter to enquire about his well-being? How did the baby sitter not call anyone to find out if the baby was coming that day or not? What about the father? Did he not want to make sure his wife and son were doing okay?
The poor infant, can you imagine the tortuous death he would have experienced? Screaming at the top of his lungs at first, he would have gradually become depleted… until the inevitable under such extenuating circumstances. The extreme dehydration would have brought on intense headaches. The child’s organs would have slowly shut down.
How does one live with the death of a grandchild? Further how could one live with the knowledge that one’s own actions caused the death? There would be constant reminders in the face of the surviving sibling, the father, the mother and the grandmother. The car would represent a torture chamber, stirring the memory of what had happened. In this era of technological advances in social media, there would be many comments internationally: judgmental, unsavory and harsh.
This gentleman will most likely now lead a most depressing life. In my humble view, he needs to be placed on a suicide watch. Our minds call for punishment, for castigation but we need to recognize that no worldly actions can surpass the mental anguish and the emotional hell that the man would put himself through. He needs forgiveness from the Higher Authority if he is genuinely remorseful. This is not a case for our judges but it is a case for the divine Judge. Our duty is to ensure that this is not another lost soul; that such an act is to become unheard of again.
God bless the soul of that young one and God bless, forgive and help that grandfather.
* Baby Aaron is not the real name but the story is based on a true story.